THE INTERNATIONAL Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with the mission to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable.
IUCN in Pakistan, like other environmental organizations, strives to promote a balance between nature and mankind. Its work from mountains to coast, and from policy to field, covers a wide range of sectoral interventions including integrated water resource management, sustainable agriculture, livestock and natural resource management practices, nature based livelihoods, and ecosystem based response to climate change and disasters.
This year’s theme for WED – Green Economy: Does it include you? – is extremely relevant to what IUCN started in mid-eighties and is still pursuing, i.e. making development sustainable. The journey started from assisting the Government of Pakistan in formulating its National Conservation Strategy, followed by provincial conservation and sustainable development strategies and eventually to the district level integrated development visions for a number of districts in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. IUCN has long been advocating environmental impact assessment (EIA) of development projects and has undertaken number of initiatives to build capacity of relevant stakeholders in conducting, reviewing and monitoring EIAs. Under its recent project, National Impact Assessment Programme, IUCN is not only strengthening EIA process in Pakistan but also promoting strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for development policies and plans. Being holistic and process oriented tools, EIA and SEA encourage public participation and multi-stakeholder inclusion in the process of impact assessment, ensuing greening of the economy.
The time is now for all of Pakistan to stand united for causes that will lead to a brighter future for the coming generations. It is our responsibility to pave the way for progression and change towards peace and prosperity in our country to that the children of today can live in a safer, cleaner and more peaceful tomorrow.